Dishin’ on dishes

IMG_0795Sometimes it’s time for new plates. At our house, the time came after 15 years with our much beloved Pottery Barn’s Du Jour collection set of 8 (down to 7 salad, 6 dinner, 6 mugs, and 5 cereal). There was nothing to complain about. The bulk of the pieces actually have held up really well with just a few silverware scratches that can be removed and very, very, very few chips (only one).

It’s more about replacement possibility (PB no longer offers Du Jour) and variety. Meals born in the modern kitchen, the trend that involves something other than an entree with two or three sides, demand bowls and plates that serve them well.

Fancy china collections offer the run of plating options: dinner plate, salad plate, bread and butter, cup and saucer, soup bowl, dessert plate, and so on. I wondered if diversity could be found in everyday plates. A search began.

Looking at dishes can be fun. One thing I quickly realized is that there are incredible looking plate sets at really decent prices. There are also incredible looking plates at really high prices. Most box sets come with dinner plates, salad plates, bowls, and mugs and, if that will suit you, these types of sets are most plentiful. Also, I focused on big vendors so, in the event of catastrophe, replacing would be more likely. Crate and Barrel has been doing plates since their start; Pottery Barn is great, too. Bed, Bath & Beyond had a range of of options as did Target. Target’s m.o. is to be stylish, fanciful, and moderately priced and they do not disappoint in the dish department.

Here are a few highlights, pictured above.

From top left. Target’s Threshold brand puts out a gorgeous blue glazed stoneware set called Elemental Ocean. The square configurations make it even more unique. $69.99 for set of 16/place settings for four. Top right, Crate and Barrel’s Leif Dinnerware in porcelain is a bit more delicate and expensive but the detailed design offers an artsy, architectural feel without being too serious. Note: the plates have large lips. Best pricing when you buy in sets of eight; a set of eight dinner plates run $52.95.

Middle left, this Jars Cantine stoneware set from Williams Sonoma is my big money pick. It’s so pricey but also so beautiful that I’d want every color (could never decide on one)! Made in southern France, it has a wonderful organic feel to it. A set of 16 runs $384.95, yikes! Middle right, Bed, Bath, & Beyond’s Gibson Home Madison Court 48-piece set offers a larger number of plating options by adding 2 pieces to each place setting. You get three plate sizes, two bowl sizes and a mug in each. It’s really well-priced at $99.99 for the set of 48 pieces.

Bottom, our winner this time around, Williams Sonoma Open Kitchen Dinnerware Collection in white. I know, it can look like a snooze fest but this set has four plates sizes (dinner, salad, appetizer, dip), four bowl sizes (pasta, soup, cereal, snack), and mugs. That’s nine pieces for each place setting and an abundance of options, which is one of my top desires this time around.I love color, but I’ll let the food take on that role. (Still, I dream of blue Jars plates.)

The winner in use. Kale/potato/sausage hash dinner with a side of blackberries served in lovely appropriate plates (pasta bowl below left, dip bowl below right)!

Take a look around at the options on line and in the stores and see if there isn’t some unrequited need to be resolved in your cupboards. forget processed food, get a food process

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